Date:7 June 2017
The co-creator of dust-busting Roomba has developed a similar solution to rid your garden of weeds. This smart garden assistant from Franklin Robotics is called Tertill. Yes, like turtle.
Getting down and dirty to keep your garden pristeen can be tiring. And many of us already know that your joints take a lot of strain from the constant bending, squatting and bowing between the shrubs. But Franklin Robotics and Roomba co-creator Joe Jones have come up with a clever robot to help you get rid of weeds.
How does Tertill work?
The robot is built to “live” in your garden and is fitted with a solar panel to charge its battery. Once it’s set free (and charged), Tertill will move around looking for weeds. It’s sensors will make it move away from plants and assist it when it runs into an obstacle. If there’s enough room between plants the robot will move around to find as many weeds as it can, whacking as it goes.
How does it decide on offending plants?
The robot is not smart enough to tell a dandelion from a tomato and will whack all short plants. The company advises to protect your small plants with specially designed “plant collars”. But you could also just cordon off saplings to avoid any run-ins.
It’s not just fancy plastic
In case you thought the plant collar was a fancy piece of plastic – it’s not. The company says the collars keep away slugs and snails by by creating a low-voltage barrier that garden-bound mollusks refuse to cross.
Sadly, unlike your skilled green fingers, Tertill doesn’t uproot the entire weed. The robot only chops off the protruding part of the plant, leaving roots and some of the stem beneath the ground. With some weeds this might be fine, but other weeds require different removal methods. This means Tertill isn’t a permanent fix for all offending plants.
Still interested? Tech site Engadget reports the company will launch a Kickstarter for the robot on the 13th of June, where it will cost $300 (about R3 850).